President George W. Bush Says Defense of Marriage Act Under Attack

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In this White House statement, President George W. Bush says the Defense of Marriage Act is under attack by activist judges in an aggressive effort to redefine marriage. Bush says he believes there is a consensus in the country to protect the institution of marriage as one between a man and a woman



"President George W. Bush Says Defense of Marriage Act Under Attack." NBC News. NBCUniversal Media. 24 Feb. 2004. NBC Learn. Web. 19 January 2020.


(2004, February 24). President George W. Bush Says Defense of Marriage Act Under Attack. [Television series episode]. NBC News. Retrieved from


"President George W. Bush Says Defense of Marriage Act Under Attack" NBC News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 02/24/2004. Accessed Sun Jan 19 2020 from NBC Learn:


President George W. Bush Says Defense of Marriage Act Under Attack

President GEORGE W. BUSH:

Good morning. Eight years ago, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for purposes of Federal law, as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. The act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342 to 67, and the Senate by a vote of 85 to 14. Those Congressional votes, and the passage of similar defense of marriage laws in 38 states, express an overwhelming consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage.

In recent months however, some activist judges and local officials have made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage. In Massachusetts, four judges in the highest court have indicated they will order the issuance of marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender in May of this year. In San Francisco, city officials have issued thousands of marriage licenses to people of the same gender, contrary to the California family code. That code, which clearly defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, was approved overwhelmingly by the voters of California. A county in New Mexico has also issued a marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender. And unless action is taken, we can expect more arbitrary court decisions, more litigation, more defiance of the law by local officials, all of which adds to uncertainty.

After more of two centuries of American jurisprudence, and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization. Their actions have created confusion on an issue that requires clarity. The Constitution says that ‘full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts and records and judicial proceedings of every other state.’

Those who want to change the meaning of marriage will claim that this provision requires all states and cities to recognize same sex marriages performed anywhere in America. Congress attempted to address this problem in the Defense of Marriage Act, by declaring that no state must accept another state’s definition of marriage. My Administration will vigorously defend this act of Congress.